‘Rafael Nadal never threw a racquet because I didn’t allow him,’ says Toni Nadal

Toni Nadal introduced his nephew Rafael to tennis when Rafa was three or four, teaching him how to play and always draw the most from himself. After every success, Toni would show the list of previous champions from that event, explaining to Rafa that many of them are not in the game anymore, as they didn’t work hard enough or didn’t have his opportunities. Giving 120% every time on the court, Rafa embraced a pro career at 15 and moved to the verge of the top-200 by the end of 2003. In 2004, the young Spaniard toppled world no. 1 Roger Federer in Miami and claimed the first ATP title in Sopot, preparing his assault on the ATP throne from 2005 when he claimed the first Major crown on Roland Garros debut. The rest is pretty much history, and Rafa stands among the best players of all time with 20 Majors and 36 Masters 1000 trophies by his name.

Toni Nadal explained the first tennis lessons given to his nephew Rafael Nadal.

Over the years, the clay warrior has experienced incredible battles with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and many other rivals from the top, suffering severe losses and enjoying brilliant victories while never forgetting his uncle’s first lessons. Nadal hasn’t thrown a racquet despite spending three decades on a tennis court, learning how to channel his frustration and turn it into his strength. Toni Nadal stayed with his nephew until the end of 2017, winning the last Major together in Paris in June and heading back home to Mallorca to take care of Nadal’s tennis complex and the ATP 250 event in Mallorca. Continuing with Carlos Moya, Rafa claimed 13 ATP titles since 2018, standing in the top-2 almost all the time and matching Roger Federer’s Major tally.

“Rafa ended up getting used to my tennis philosophy, assuming a very high demand that I placed on him. When he was a child, and we trained, the first thing I did was to ask him to smile and have a positive attitude. He never threw a racquet because that would have allowed frustration to overcome him. I’m bothered by the complaint and frustration, considering that it begins from a feeling of personal overvaluation, of believing that you can’t fail. I did my best to fix that in his approach,” Toni Nadal said.

Leave a Reply